ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

Severe Worker Shortage Forseen By 2015

Many agencies have one or more staff members or owners who have caught (or inherited) this disease. APD is as insidious as AIDS. APD sufferers seem to have no sense of either priorities or urgency. They wait until the last minute to work on renewals or other projects. They delay any decisions until they can delay no longer. The problem is not that they don’t want to attack problems and projects – they simply can’t. It is as if the “sense” of priority in a normal person is missing in the APD sufferer. This problem haunts them (most know that they have it, but may be in denial) throughout their lives and certainly affects both their personal and professional lives.

The opposite of the APD sufferer is the (often anal-retentive) MBO. The MBO manages his/her job and life by a series of objectives that must be reached as quickly as possible and at all costs. These folks are hyperactive children and Type-A adults. They feel that they are efficient because they maintain lists and are most satisfied when they get all of their jobs/tasks/priorities done (which, unfortunately, is very rarely accomplished). ‘Stopping to Smell the Roses’ is a foreign concept to the MBO. When on vacation, they are usually traveling – their goal is to get to a place (or a number of places), not relaxing and enjoying those locales once they arrive. At work, MBO’s may tolerate, but certainly don’t approve of people who are not efficiently seeking to reach goals and objectives. Few MBO’s recognize their conditions as an illness – most simply think that they are more efficient than their compatriots.

Now imagine an insurance agency in which an APD and an MBO are principals. For some reason, a large number of multiple owner agencies have at least one of each of these conditions among them. The APD thinks that the MBO is headed for a heart attack and would be much better off laying back a bit. The MBO feels that (s)he handles far more than his/her share of the work or decision-making and is a classic martyr. The MBO thinks that the APD would ruin the business were it not for the MBO. Both the MBO and the APD may be service- and customer-oriented and may think very highly of each other, but one prides himself on being ahead of the customer and the other prides himself on doing whatever is necessary to ‘plug the holes’ and ‘fight the fires’ on behalf of the customer (even though his inactivity caused many of those ‘holes’ and ‘fires’).

This may sound funny to those readers who recognize either of these unfortunates in their own business or life, but I assure you that it is not funny to either of these parties as they try to deal with one another throughout their careers.